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European Research, Innovation and Education

August 2012 – 2012/08

Contents SEEN FROM BRUSSELS Member of the club

2

RESEARCH ‘More clarifications in Horizon 2020 needed’

3

Dossier: Research policy-making at European level

4

> Publications

5

Consultation on national research infrastructures

5

Catalogue of projects in environmental research

5

INNOVATION Commission tackles single market for security

6

Dossier: Aiming at a safe open sky over Europe

7

> Publications

8

European businesses keep investing in R&D

8

Expert advice on how to support innovation in NMP

8

A new European PPP is ready for take-off

9

EDUCATION LLP centralised actions 2013 and beyond

10

Challenge of international qualifications

11

> Publications

13

ESF should stay a major LLL funder

13

Stability in 2012 Shanghai ranking

13

Skills development through new technologies

13

INTRA MUROS… Swiss interests in Rules for Participation

This edition of the SwissCore Synopsis as well as previous editions are available on our website. SwissCore - Contact Office for European Research, Innovation and Education Rue du Trône 98 • B-1050 Bruxelles • Tel. +32-2-549 09 80 • Fax +32-2-549 09 89 infodesk@swisscore.org • www.swisscore.org

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SEEN FROM BRUSSELS Member of the club With all the attention on the immaculately organised Games in London, August 2012 in Brussels felt very Southern European: empty streets, metros and mailboxes, sunny and hot weather and so laid back even leaving room for reading and philosophising. “Where are you from?” was also in London the great opening line for the thousands of volunteers, who friendly, but decisively steered the happy crowds. “I was born in Switzerland and live in Brussels”. “So you are from Europe!” Was it all the gold for Team GB or have the British always felt outside of Europe while being member of the European Union (EU)? Can one feel a nonmember of a club while being one? What about the Liaison Officer from a Swiss university stating that Switzerland, as a non-member state, does not have to confine with directives from Brussels? Well, Swiss researchers and institutions must comply with the rules when executing research with funds from the EU, including the proper handling of chemicals in laboratories and breeding of mice for clinical trials. One can thus feel like a member without being one. No doubt, the large majority of the Swiss research landscape ‘feels’ member of the European research community. But ‘is’ the Swiss research landscape member of the European research community? A clear answer on a similar question was given by the majority of European commentators with regards to Russia in the case of the verdicts against three members of the freedom of expression movement ‘Pussy riot’: the overall conclusion was that Russia, as one of the 49 signatory states to the

European Cultural Convention, should be addressed within the framework of the Council of Europe. So why did these verdicts succeed in mobilising the European public opinion, but not the other serious infringements of human rights and democracy in Russia this summer? May we conclude that different actors cite different clubs and membership rules for different purposes? If yes, the crucial question is what these purposes in casu are. Reading through a vision paper of a non-EU treaty organisation one came across the claim that Eurocontrol was an EU institution. Eurocontrol? It is an intergovernmental organisation supporting its 39 member states and the European Community “to achieve safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly air traffic operations across the whole of the European region”. We might conclude that even notorious intergovernmentalists and subsidiarists have difficulties knowing what kind of European clubs there are. Frankly, this ‘Club Med feeling’ of finally getting around to reading and philosophising during August 2012 in Brussels was somehow confusing. Do you remember what SwissCore tells its visitors and trainees in this respect (see Synopsis 2012/04)? Europe is a collection of treaties with corresponding supranational, international, inter governmental and/or inter ministerial bodies, competencies and decision making procedures. Institutions have to identify their (collective) interests and address them through the correct procedure to the right European body. To be continued ... 31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH ‘More clarifications in Horizon 2020 needed’ On 25 July 2012, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has published its opinion on the proposed Rules for Participation and Dissemination (RfP) for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020). ECA broadly welcomes the drive towards more simplification in the RfP pointing out that the simplifications will lead to a faster and more reliable application process. As a matter of fact, a large number of errors occurred in the audits of projects funded under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The errors were caused by the variety of funding schemes and instruments and inconsistencies in the application of RfP and procedures. In an interim evaluation report published in 2010, ECA had criticised the complexity of the RfP in FP7. For example, the European Commission (EC) proposed a reimbursement rate for Horizon 2020 that fully covers the direct costs, but offers a flat rate for the indirect costs equivalent to 20% of the direct costs. The EC justifies this with the many errors related to indirect costs under FP7 (28%). ‘Close-to-market’ activities however would benefit from a 70% reimbursement rate of the direct costs only. ECA positively welcomes these simplifications, stating they will lead to a large reduction of errors under Horizon 2020. However, ECA insists on keeping a single set of RfP and allowing as few exceptions as possible. Furthermore, it is not clear how the RfP will be applied consistently across all actions in Horizon 2020. In order to avoid confusion and reduce audit errors, ECA asks for more clarity as well in

the definition of ‘close-to-market activities’, ‘innovation’ and what eligible Value Added Tax (VAT) costs are. ECA points out that ‘innovation’ is broadly described, but never exactly defined. It is worth noting that, ECA mentions the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) along with its German counterpart, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). ECA writes that the new funding model for Horizon 2020 is similar to what is done in practice in Switzerland and in Germany and would therefore collect acceptability among European research funding organisations. ECA makes some recommendations as well. It firstly asks to limit the scope of innovation activities that can be financed in Horizon 2020 in order to reduce dilution of funding. Secondly, it calls upon the EC to make reference to a recognised innovation framework such as the Oslo manual in order to provide a clear definition of ‘innovation activities’. Thirdly, clear coordination mechanisms with other EU programmes (e.g. the cohesion funds) must be identified in order to avoid the accumulation of grants by a single party and to increase leveraging effects. Finally, ECA is very much in favour of non-financial ‘prizes’ for excellent researchers. ECA asks the EC to enhance the attractiveness of prizes by ‘creating an image and a reputation based on excellence, exclusivity and international recognition’. Discussions will continue at the Council of the European Union with the aim of reaching a partial general approach on the RfP in October.

ECA’s opinion on the Rules for Participation (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH

Research policy-making at European level The Innovation Union flagship of the Europe 2020 strategy clearly stresses the need to invest in research and innovation in order to foster competitiveness and economic growth and to create jobs. With the first-time nomination of Anne Glover as Chief Scientific Advisor to the President of the European Commission (EC) José Manuel Barroso in 2011, a further sign was set: research and innovation is essential to pave the way out of the crisis. This assumption has been confirmed by numerous quantitative analyses linking spending on research and development to growth, low unemployment and richer and more dynamic societies. To achieve its objectives, the European Union (EU) relies on multiannual research framework programmes, with the seventh edition (FP7) coming to an end in 2013. While the funding of the framework programmes amounts for a relatively modest share of public research spending in Europe, the impact on the structuring and the coordination of national research funding programmes is undeniable. Still, the identification of economic, societal and environmental impacts resulting from activities carried out under the framework programmes is a rather difficult task due to the complexity and interconnectivity of European research systems. Research policy-making and programme design in the EU generally follow a standard procedure including ex-ante impact assessment, interim and ex post evaluation. The ex ante impact assessment of the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

(Horizon 2020) published last year, foresees clear instruments for its monitoring. Along each strategic objective of the programme, a series of indicators are listed based on which the success of Horizon 2020 will be assessed. The evaluation contains traditional indicators such as direct project outputs (patents, publications, citations), the characteristics of the participants (country and region of origin, type of actor) and the nature of their participation and networking behaviour (one-time or repeated participation, evolution of the networks). In the case of Horizon 2020, the indicators will be extended by considering, among others, the number of national and regional policy measures induced by the European Research Council or the share of new innovations in Small and Medium Enterprise attributed to Horizon 2020. For the further evaluation of research and innovation programmes and policies, a call for tenders has been published on 28 July 2012. The call amounts for €27 million to be spent over four years. The applicants should provide the EC with analyses on the means to attain policy objectives formulated under the Innovation Union flagship. Additionally, they should identify policy problems and the underlying problem drivers, assess the need of public intervention at EU level, establish hierarchies of policy objectives and options, evaluate the impact of policies and develop new monitoring tools. The deadline for submitting proposals is set on 8 October 2012.

Call for tenders (pdf) Horizon 2020 impact assessment (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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RESEARCH

> Publications Consultation on national research infrastructures On 15 July 2012, the European Commission has

for

published a ‘consultation on possible topics for

(FP7). Integrated Activities have for main objec-

future activities for integrating and opening exist-

tives improving the access to and coordinating the

ing

use of national research infrastructures at the

research

infrastructures’.

The

consultation

Research

and

Technological

Development

aims at preparing future initiatives at the Europe-

European level. All stakeholders are invited to

an level as a follow-up to ‘Integrated Activities’

provide input until 22 October 2012.

funded under the Seventh Framework Programme Consultation

Catalogue of projects in environmental research On 10 August 2012, the Directorate-General for

projects are described and presented according to

Research and Innovation has published a docu-

research areas. ‘Environment’, including climate

ment listing all the projects funded under ‘Envi-

change, was given a total of €1.9 billion of which

ronment’ in the ‘Cooperation’ programme of the

€336 million are allocated in the call for proposals

Seventh Framework Programme for Research and

2013.

Technological Development (FP7). In total, 420 Catalogue (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION Commission tackles single market for security At a time when the European Union (EU) is looking to improve the situation on the labour market, the security sector with its significant growth potential cannot be ignored. The global security market has grown nearly tenfold in the last ten years and it is expected that this trend will continue. However, studies predict a significant drop in the EU market share as well as a shift of the central future market to Asia, South America and the Middle East. In view of the fierce competition by the US, the European Commission (EC) has recognised that not only are American companies technological forerunners, but they are also in a better position due to a harmonised legal framework, a distinguishable US brand and a robust internal market. The focus of the EC’s ‘Action Plan for an innovative and competitive Security Industry’ published on 30 July 2012 is therefore on strengthening the internal market for security technologies, knowing that a competitive ‘EU brand’ will also help conquer external markets. It is the first attempt of its kind. As a first step there is the fundamental question of defining the scope of the European security industry in itself as it is neither covered as such by the main statistical nomenclatures nor is there any statistical data source available at the European level. In fact, it is divided between a wide range of product categories of which the producers are reluctant to provide relevant market expenditure information. Nevertheless, the European security industry is constituted roughly of the following sectors: aviation security, maritime security, border security, critical infrastructure protection,

counter-terror intelligence (including cyber security and communication), physical security protection, crisis management and protective clothing. Besides its scope, there are its three distinctive features that make the security market particularly difficult to tackle:  highly fragmented and divided along national or even regional boundaries, which the member states tend to protect;  mainly public authorities as buyers;  strong societal dimension with immense sensitivities. The EC is addressing all three features with concrete actions. It plans to overcome market fragmentation through standardisation of the next generation of tools and technologies, an EU-wide certification system for security technologies and the exploitation of synergies between security and defence markets through hybrid standards. The EC suggests to use the new simplified rules for intellectual property rights under Horizon 2020, make extensive use of pre-commercial public procurement and is looking closely at third party liability limitation as means to reduce the gap between research and market. The societal dimension will not be forgotten and indeed it is planned to integrate it better in all actions. It is planned to involve citizens and make societal impact testing obligatory during the R&D phase and to develop standard rules for privacy. The suggested measures will be monitored by an expert group on a regular basis.

Communication (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION

Aiming at a safe open sky over Europe The European Commission (EC) has recently launched a public consultation on the extension of the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) under Horizon 2020. SESAR stands for ‘Single European Sky Air Traffic Management (ATM) Research’ and is a three phase programme, launched in 2004 to help Europe achieve its ambitious goal of a Single European Sky (SES). Europe’s airspace is among the busiest in the world, but unlike, for example, the US, there is no air navigation at European level. The SES aims at restructuring European airspace as a function of air traffic flows, creating additional capacity and increasing the overall efficiency of the ATM system. Separating regulatory activities from service provision and thus opening up the possibility of cross-border ATM services, reorganising European airspace that is no longer constrained by national borders and setting common rules and standards, e.g. for flight data exchanges and telecommunications, are some of its main elements. Modernising and reforming European ATM are at the core of SESAR, which acts as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and is financed by Eurocontrol, the EC and the Trans-European Transport Network Executive Agency (TEN-T EA) as well as the industry.

The programme is based on the European ATM Master Plan, which was jointly established by all relevant stakeholders to modernise European ATM with a strong focus on technological innovation. It is currently in the development phase after an initial definition phase (2004-2008). The public consultation concerns the upcoming deployment phase starting in 2014, which comprises of the two sub-phases, industrialisation and implementation. Industrialisation includes standardisation, certification and large-scale production and is carried by the manufacturers of ground and airborne equipment, and implementation involves procurement, installation and commissioning of equipment and the implementation of procedures by airspace users, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) and airports. The EC has already expressed a positive view on the extension of SJU in its communication on SESAR deployment at the end of 2011. Whilst SESAR might continue and more innovative and technologically advanced soft- and hardware will be conceived, manufactured and implemented, the developments towards the SES only proceed slowly and take their financial and environmental toll in the meantime, due to congestion, delays and inefficient flight paths.

SESAR Public Consultation Communication on SESAR deployment (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION

> Publications European businesses keep investing in R&D On 20 August 2012, the European Commission’s

significant shares of sales coming from innovative

Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published the

products and services introduced in the past three

results of the 2011 survey on R&D investment

years and see R&D within the company as the

business trends. The report is based on 187 re-

most important component of innovation, followed

sponses of mainly large companies from the 1000

by market research related activities for new

EU-based companies in the 2011 EU Industrial

product introduction.

R&D Investment Scoreboard. In the scoreboard

Collaboration, particularly with suppliers and cus-

2011, which is led by the Swiss pharmaceutical

tomers, is given more importance to than formal

company Roche, the German Automobile holding

licensing, which could indicate a trend towards

Volkswagen, which has the highest R&D invest-

open innovation. National public support, like fiscal

ment in the EU, only takes 6th position globally.

incentives and grants, and the availability of quali-

However, the 187 interviewed companies do not

fied personnel are stated to have the most positive

include non-EU enterprises. Together they are

effect on innovation. In view of the planned finan-

responsible for R&D investment worth almost €56

cial instruments under Horizon 2020 and COSME,

billion, constituting around 40% of the total R&D

it is interesting that loans and guarantees as well

investment of the 1000 EU Scoreboard.

as access to venture capital seem to play a much

The most important result of the survey clearly is

less important role. Labour costs and conditions of

that companies expect to maintain robust R&D

Intellectual Property Rights (enforcement, time

investment increases (average 4% p.a.) over the

and costs) continue to be perceived as negative

next three years. The highest growth expectations

factors for company innovations. When companies

in R&D investments stem from software and com-

outsource their R&D, they prefer to stay in their

puter services companies (11% p.a. over the next

own country, followed by a non-EU country. Within

three years), whereas pharmaceutical companies

the EU, Germany is the favourite country for out-

tend to spend less than expected (average of 3%

sourcing R&D and outside the EU the United States

growth p.a). The responding companies report

are the favourite followed by China and India.

JRC report

Expert advice on how to support innovation in NMP The Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to the European

proaches to overcome the different cultures within

Commission for Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies,

academia and business. In order to implement

Materials and new Production Technologies (NMP)

best practice in innovation, EAG suggests a total

has published an ‘Orientation Paper on Industrial

system approach, including open innovation ac-

Innovation’. The Group, which consists of 25 NMP

tions alongside three different models with view on

experts from academia and industry, advises the

‘smart regional specialisation’. The importance of

EC on strategy, objectives and scientific and tech-

removing hurdles for SME participation and an

nological priorities within ‘Capacities’ under FP7. In

effective transfer of research outputs into stand-

their Orientation Paper, EAG suggests practical

ards are emphasised and a number of measures

steps for improving the economic and social im-

are proposed. Finally the experts give two general

pact of R&D in NMP. EAG tackles five areas and

recommendations concerning key enabling tech-

gives

EAG

nologies (KET), which are the increasing support of

points out the need for better interactions between

pilot and demonstration projects and better inte-

academia

gration of the NMP programme in terms of budget

clear

recommendations

and

industry, to

for

action.

enable

technology

transfer and innovation and suggests several ap-

and strategy.

EAG paper (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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INNOVATION

A new European PPP is ready for take-off The

Sustainable

Process

Industry

through

itself high goals, like reducing fossil energy inten-

Ressource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) has for-

sity by up to 30% from current levels and a reduc-

mally set up a legal entity that will manage and

tion in non-renewable, primary raw material inten-

implement a proposed Public Private Partnership

sity by up to 20% from current levels by 2030.

(PPP) focussing on innovation in resource and

With the inclusion and support of SME, it aims at

energy efficiency in and enabled by the process

making the EU process industry the number 1

industry. The association A.SPIRE represents the

global competitor. Given the broad topic and the

private sector partners from 10 industries reaching

many industries represented, A.SPIRE hopes to

from steel, chemicals, minerals and water to glass.

advance a wide range of European policies, such

European Technology Platforms (ETP) and industry

as ‘Innovation Union’, ‘Resource Efficiency’ and

associations have contributed to the development

‘New Skills for New Jobs’. It aims at taking a con-

of the PPP, which claims to be one of the only

necting role between different sectors of the value

innovation driven PPP in Europe. A.SPIRE has set

chain as well as across sectors.

SPIRE

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION LLP centralised actions 2013 and beyond On 3 August 2012, the DirectorateGeneral for Education and Culture of the European Commission (EC) has published the call for proposals 2013 under the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The call includes both decentralised actions, managed by national agencies in each participating country – in Switzerland the ch Foundation for confederal collaboration – representing around 85% of the LLP budget and centralised actions, managed directly in Brussels by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) representing around 15% of the LLP budget. Whereas decentralised actions are mobility activities and small-scale cooperation projects, centralised actions are large-scale cooperation projects that are tightly linked to the policy agendas of the different education sectors. Concretely, the four LLP sub-programmes – Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig – all offer the same three types of centralised actions: multilateral projects, networks, accompanying measures. They are then divided into strategic priorities, which reflect the policy developments in each sector. For example, the 2013 strategic priorities for Erasmus multilateral projects are: increasing attainment levels and strengthening the social dimension of higher education; improving the quality and relevance of higher education, including through cooperation between higher education institutions and the labour market; strengthening quality through mobility and cross-border cooperation; knowledge alliances; improving governance and funding. These priorities are exactly the same as the ones highlighted in the EC communication ‘Supporting growth and jobs – an agenda for the modernisation of Europe's

higher education systems’ published last September (see Synopsis 2011/09). Another example are the priorities that must be addressed within Comenius networks, which are perfectly in line with the 2008 EC communication ‘Improving Competences for the 21st Century: an agenda for European cooperation on schools’. The LLP also support four other types of ‘transversal centralised actions’: policy cooperation; languages; Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); dissemination and exploitation of results. Each of these transversal actions are again divided into project types – multilateral projects and networks – which are then divided into priorities. Unlike the centralised actions of the sub-programmes, they are not sector-specific, but topic-driven. For example, ICT multilateral projects under the strategic priority ‘reinforcing key competences, such as digital competence, bridging the worlds of education and work’ should address all education sectors and be understood in a lifelong learning context: how can the learning of digital competences be supported in formal, as well as informal and non formal, education and training? In general, the success rates for the LLP centralised actions are relatively low compared to the decentralised actions. For instance, the Leonardo da Vinci centralised actions all together had a success rate of 13,7% for the call 2011, or only 43 Erasmus multilateral projects out of 201 were selected in the call 2012. However, it must be stressed that the success rate largely varies according to the priorities chosen, some of them generating a much larger amount of proposals than others.

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION

Under the future Erasmus for All, there will also be decentralised and centralised actions. The centralised actions will be found both under key action two ‘cooperation for innovation and good practices’ and key action three ‘policy support’ (see Synopsis 2011/11). The Knowledge Alliances and Sector Skills Alliances, which were launched as pilot actions in 2012 and represent priorities under the Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci multilateral projects of the 2013 call, will be two fixed types of centralised actions under key action two.

What the other types of centralised actions will exactly look like will be determined by the EC in the course of 2013.

LLP call 2013

EACEA

Workshop Erasmus centralised actions

ch Foundation

LLP centralised actions 2013 Infoday

Modernisation agenda (pdf)

Presentations of 2012 Infoday

Schools of the 21st century (pdf)

More information for the call 2013 can be obtained at the 2013 LLP centralised actions Infoday organised by the EC on 12 November 2012 in Brussels. Interested Swiss higher education stakeholders are warmly invited for a workshop on the Erasmus centralised actions on 27 September 2012 in Berne organised by SwissCore.

Challenge of international qualifications Along with the globalisation of economies and labour markets, all professional sectors have experienced a more or less rapid internationalisation. As a result, the respective awarded qualifications also have a more or less international character. A report of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) on ‘international qualifications’ tries to give a first overview of the existing types of ‘non traditional national qualifications’. This report will serve for the development of two European initiatives: the European Skills/Competences, qualification and Occupations (ESCO) classification, a multilingual classification linking qualifications to occupations, which will be fully operational by 2016; and the European Qualification Framework (EQF), which for now only covers the public sector and traditional national qualifications.

The report proposes a division of ‘non traditional national qualifications’ into three

analytical categories, which in some cases overlap, but are useful to start a reflection on international qualifications:

 qualifications awarded at national level, but regulated at European and international levels;  qualifications linked to specific tasks and technologies;  qualifications linked and professions.

to

occupations

In several sectors, professions have a strong international dimension and the respective qualifications are awarded at national level, but based on European or international standards. This is for example the case in the aviation sector, where the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) develops common safety and environmental rules at European level, with which all qualifications awarded at national level must comply. The second category includes for instance the welding and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors. Welding, a 31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION

cross-sector technology, has a strong international aspect and qualifications in that sector are not only awarded at national, but also at European level, for example by the European Welding Federation. Most ICT certificates are also awarded outside national authorities’ jurisdictions, in many cases by multinational private companies such as Apple or Microsoft. In general, the role of the private sector in awarding qualifications is not visible and it is therefore difficult to control and ensure the quality of the wide arrays of qualifications awarded by private bodies. In the future, the ESCO should play an important role in improving the situation by providing an overview of all types of occupations and their respective skills, competences and knowledge. Finally, the hairdressing sector is a good example for the third category: the required knowledge, skills and competences for hairdressers at European level are set in a Sectoral Qualification Framework (SQF), which is recognised by the relevant European stakeholders. Other sectors have developed SQF, but they are truly operational only in few cases.

In order to gather all relevant European stakeholders within one sector in a consolidated and operational way, the 2010 Flagship ‘An agenda for new skills and jobs’ pushed for the development of European Sector Skills Councils (ESSC), which should aim at ensuring a solid collaboration between the European social partners and education providers

within a sector, thus setting qualification requirements, predicting the evolution of the labour market needs and supporting the ESCO development. So far, the textile, clothing and leather sector has launched an ESSC, the commerce sector should do so until the end of 2012, the automotive and the steel sectors have finalised their feasibility studies and eleven other sectors are starting with it. ESSC could count among the potential applicants for the future action Sector Skills Alliances (SSA) under Erasmus for All, which will aim at designing new curricula and learning methods for a specific sector.

The CEDEFOP report concludes that, whereas the developments of National Qualification Frameworks (NQF) – referring to the EQF – have helped improving the transparency of national qualifications, the gaining importance of ‘non traditional national qualifications’ has increased complexity and lack of transparency. This is why there is an important effort at European level to adapt to the increasingly international character of qualifications and to try to provide a comprehensive overview of these ‘non traditional national qualifications’. The developments of European initiatives and instruments such as EQF, ESCO, ESSC and SSA are intrinsically linked and should be addressed together when looking at the complex issue of international qualifications.

CEDEFOP report (pdf)

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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EDUCATION

> Publications ESF should stay a major LLL funder On 7 August 2012, the Directorate-General for

them towards employment. For low-skilled per-

Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the

sons, a very heterogeneous group, LLL initiatives

European Commission has published an evaluation

proved most useful when providing for personal-

report of the European Social Fund (ESF) support

ised instruments such as guidance or job-matching

to Lifelong Learning (LLL). The study, conducted

activities. Older workers represent the smallest

by the research and consulting company Ecorys,

target group and LLL activities contribute to updat-

looks at the impact of ESF-funded LLL initiatives

ing their skills for the labour market. All in all, the

for young job seekers, low-skilled persons and

report concludes that ESF has clearly become a

older workers. The report shows that, for the peri-

major LLL funder. In the future, the twist due to

od from 2007 to 2013, over €32 billion – i.e. 42%

the crisis towards supporting short term job crea-

of the total ESF budget – is allocated to LLL initia-

tion should not happen at the expense of LLL,

tives. Of course, the importance of ESF and its

which proved efficient to deliver the adaptable

contribution to LLL varies between member states.

skills needed in the coming decades. Therefore,

Young people are the target group most benefiting

according to the report, LLL should stay an ESF

from these initiatives, which very often support

priority from 2014 to 2020.

Evaluation report

Stability in 2012 Shanghai ranking On 15 August 2012, the Center for World-Class

positioned, with for example the Swiss Federal

Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University has

Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) holding

published the 10th edition of its annual global

the 18th position for engineering, technology and

university ranking. Harvard remains number one

computer sciences, ETHZ the 8th position for natu-

for the 10th consecutive year. Four Swiss institu-

ral sciences and mathematics, or the University of

tions are listed in the top hundred of the general

Zurich the 25th position for life and agriculture

ranking: the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

sciences. In the ranking by subjects (mathematics,

Zurich (ETHZ) on 23rd, the University of Zurich on

physics, chemistry, computer, economics), some

59th, the University of Geneva on 69th and the

Swiss institutions also score high, like ETHZ hold-

University of Basel on 85th position. Looking at the

ing the 5th position in chemistry. All together, the

ranking by fields, Swiss institutions are rather well

results are quite comparable to 2011.

Shanghai ranking

Skills development through new technologies On 13 August 2012, the Directorate-General for

sources (OER) and Information and Communica-

Education and Culture of the European Commis-

tion Technologies (ICT) in education and training.

sion has opened a public consultation on ‘Opening

The results of the consultation will feed into a

up Education – a proposal for a European Initiative

communication on opening up education to OER

to enhance

education and skills development

and ICT expected for next year. All stakeholders

through new technologies’. The aim of the consul-

affected by education and training policies are

tation is to assess the need for action at European

invited to give their opinion until 13 November.

level to promote the use of Open Educational ReConsultation

31 August 2012 • SwissCore

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INTRA MUROS… Swiss interests in Rules for Participation Under the Cypriot presidency in the second half of 2012, the Rules for Participation and Dissemination (RfP) of the future Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020) will be discussed and the amount and distribution of the funding should also be settled. The legislative developments of Horizon 2020 and its RfP, though well structured, are indeed a complex process. Therefore, in order to give answers to concerns raised by several European constituencies, also in Switzerland, SwissCore, together with its funders, decided that their Student Trainee in Brussels, Douglas Armendone, would carry out a master research on this specific subject. It concerns the first such master thesis, which was written during a traineeship at SwissCore. To start with, the subject of the research has an interesting horizontal nature. It covers multi-disciplinary topics, ranging from pure policy matters to scientific, legal and financial ones. It takes into consideration Swiss managerial, administrative and research interests in Horizon 2020 and not only provides an analysis of the proposal from the European Commission (EC) concerning the RfP proposed for Horizon 2020, but also sheds light on the influence of a nonmember state like Switzerland with regards to European Union (EU) legislation. The research shows that the current RfP are of key importance (in comparison with former RfP) due to the proposed broader scope and foreseen simplification. As the RfP cover, for instance, funding rates and cost reimbursement, reporting and auditing, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and dissemination rules which will apply to the results of research and innovation activities performed with Horizon 2020 funds, they should not be overlooked by research stakeholders and governments.

With the Swiss case taken into consideration, the conclusions in this study are coupled with a few recommendations that could be useful not only to the Swiss science and research community, but also to other stakeholders. For instance, in order to preserve excellence as the only criterion in Horizon 2020, beneficiaries could consider underlining the need to make a distinction between participation in every programme (e.g. Structural Funds), while fostering the development of a ‘stairway of excellence’, which leads less developed regions to fully participate in Horizon 2020, through capacity-building measures. Although Value Added Tax (VAT) is included as eligible cost and that it is seen as positive by beneficiaries, they could still emphasise that the EC should provide clarity, consistency and unambiguity with regard to VAT recoverability. The RfP should be clarified especially in cases of contradictory rules at the national and European levels. The main objective of Horizon 2020 is to couple research and innovation. However, if public research organisations have to provide even more co-financing in close-to-market activities, they might not be willing to participate. This discussion on whether the proposals for direct and indirect reimbursement rates will lead to an increase or loss of participation, should not be overlooked by the European institutions and the participants themselves. Following the critics on the proposed flat rate of 20% for indirect costs, in the current context, the point is whether a higher rate of the reintroduction of real indirect costs would correspond better to researchers interests (but, noting that the higher the rate, the lower the number of projects which will be funded in Horizon 2020). In order to improve reporting and audit31 August 2012 • SwissCore 14


ing procedures, participants could emphasise that a coherent interpretation of rules between EC officers and auditors and the traceability of officers decisions is necessary and should be ensured. Finally, the conclusion in the research is that the presence of multiple access points at EU level poses a challenge for Swiss stakeholders, for the European institutions are different in both their composition and informational needs. Having described the EU legislative procedure, it is concluded that there are windows for Swiss stakeholders to bring input to the discussions in Brussels. Thus, the hypothesis of the thesis, that

Switzerland as a non-member of the EU cannot influence decisions at EU level, could be refuted. For Switzerland, both EC and European Parliament are relevant places to safeguard its interests and the case of RfP of Horizon 2020 studied suggests Switzerland succeeded in achieving this. The RfP are of strategic importance for the concrete participation of Swiss researchers and institutions in Horizon 2020 and will influence the implementation of the programme. This study might add to the inspiration of Swiss and European stakeholders and operators alike.

Thesis (pdf)

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Synopsis August 2012